New Governor Appointed to Ensure Security in Laos’ Xaysomboun Province

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Bodies of three Lao soldiers shot dead in a clash with an anti-government group in Xaysomboun Province around Nov. 23-24.
Bodies of three Lao soldiers shot dead in a clash with an anti-government group in Xaysomboun Province around Nov. 23-24.

A Lao military officer who was deputy minister of national defense has been appointed governor of Xaysomboun province to tamp down increased unrest since last November, which has left 10 dead, a retired soldier close to a high-ranking officer in the Ministry of National Defense said.

Major General Thongloy Silivong, a member of the Party Central Committee and former chief of the National Defense Academy, was appointed the new party secretary of Xaysomboun province on Feb. 16, replacing Sombath Yialiher.

Thongloy was one of 69 people elected to the Party Central Committee during the 10th Party Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the country’s most important political event, held in the capital Vientiane in January.

“The appointment of a high-ranking military official to govern the province was expected because of the unrest,” the retired soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFA’s Lao Service.

Unrest in the mountainous province in central Laos is nothing new, but recent violent incidents mean it can no longer be ignored because of the effect on local development and the lives of area residents, he said.

Lao authorities imposed a curfew in the north-central part of the province in early December after a spate of violence the previous month in which three government soldiers and three civilians were killed.

Last month, a bomb blast at a road construction site near a work camp outside Pha Nok Kok village, Long Cheang district, killed two Chinese officials and injured a third, and forced work on the project to stop temporarily. Previously, soldiers defused another bomb on the same road in Namphanoy village on Dec. 30.

Anti-government group

While authorities blamed the events on bandits, a source close to the government told RFA that an anti-government resistance group was behind the killings, a rarity in the tightly ruled country where no known armed rebel groups have operated in recent years.

“It is well known that the province is the base of an anti-government group, and no one can deny it,” the retired soldier said. “The reason the government has appointed Major General Thongloy to oversee that province is because he’s not a hard-line soldier, but a politics-minded one who will focus on a peaceful strategy.”

Some believe that ethnic Hmong who live in the province may be the ones behind the recent attacks, he said.

The Nam Ngiep 1, a 290-megawatt hydropower dam being built in Xaysomboun and neighboring Bolikhamxay province, has forced about 300 Hmong families to relocate to two other villages in Xaysomboun.

“The villagers did not want to be moved because they were not satisfied with the compensation offered to them,” he said.

Behind the scenes

At first, General Souvone Leuangbounmy, a military hard-liner, was supposed to be appointed governor of Xaysomboun province, but the government decided on Major General Thongloy to work out a peaceful solution, the retired soldier said.

Thongloy was not endorsed by former President Khamtay Siphandone, who has played a key role in selecting new Central Party Committee members and the 11 Politburo members. He campaigned hard before the party congress to ensure that certain candidates were elected.

“Before the 10th Party Congress, former president [Khamtay], backed by Vietnam, worked hard to get involved in the selection of the new Central Party Committee members and eliminate any pro-Chinese leaders,” the retired soldier said.

The 92-year-old worked so hard behind the scenes that he fell ill after the congress and is currently receiving medical treatment in Vietnam, he said.

“After the congress, it was clear that Mr. Khamtay still had the power and influence to decide the nation’s future and is one of only two people that can determine the destiny of the country,” he said.

Xaysomboun was once a base for thousands of ethnic minority Hmong who fought under U.S. Central Intelligence Agency advisers during a so-called “secret war” backing the Lao Royal Army against Pathet Lao communist forces.

After the communist takeover in 1975, a ragtag band of Hmong resisters hid in the jungle, fearing government persecution for having fought for the pro-American side during the war.

Reported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Ounkeo Souksavanh. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Comments (5)

Chao Fa

from USA

You Laotian, can kill the Hmoob in the jungles. But once the world see your crime. You will all perish faster than when the when we left Laos. I would like to add another thing, those attacks are not done by our Hmoob Chao Fa, but by your opposing Laotian, the Democratic Lao Party, that has been in hiding since the end of the Secret War.

Dec 23, 2018 02:15 PM



Mar 15, 2016 12:06 PM

Chao Fa

from USA

They are the Democratic Lao, that went into hiding around the same time that us Hmoob created the Chao Fa organization.

Dec 23, 2018 02:17 PM


from xaisomboun

Message from New Province ( Xaisomeboun) lao national security Council of Xaisomboun, on march 2016 geneal thong loi will take place as governor in the new regime kicking out MR somebat Nhia lee her
from the district. We would like to declare that General Thong Lio will do his duty job same as 1976-1981 that Genaral Boun chan ( Khmu ) did to Clean up the Hmong Chao Fa resistant ( Hmong Hilltribe that was trained by the U.S.CIA ) We will start to make a war against the Hmong Nationa in the area) Hmong was trained and armed by the U.S. we the Lao National Security need to clean to finish those bandits by the end of 2020. The U.S. now is closely friend wi th Lao and Hmong would be abandoned and we will hunt like animals.

Mar 02, 2016 11:45 AM



Feb 26, 2016 06:16 AM


from Anouvong district

To all the lao nation. When the lao PDR central committee and national Assembly
Announced that the Mouagxaisomboun district need to reform. Since 1976-to now the Hmong Trained by U.S. CIA had remained in the PHOUBIA the highest Mountain of laos name Chao Fa Freedom Fighter leaded by Zong Zoua Her Pakao Her and Chue chee vue. The Lao PDR has used army Force to clean up and surrounded for almost 40 years, but the Hmong Resistant is not dead end yet. Laos PDR has agreed appointed DR Somebat Nhia leeher to reform and to organize the Xaisomeboun to a special Province .
and Laos merged the longxan, mouang home to the new province district. on November 23, 2015 the lao national army force and the Hmong Chao Fa NATIONAL Army leaded by General Yang Lue had fight face by face near the Long Cheng and both sides has been killed the Chao Fa had lost about 11 heads and the Lao PDR army also about 25 dead and more than 50 soldiers were get hurts and has been sent to xaisomboun Hospital. The LAOS PDR believed to replace General thong lioe to govern the district and Dr somebat Nhia lee Her has been turned down many of Hmong ethnic in the Xaisomeboun DISTRICT have lost every positions. many of Hmong people whom had been served the country since neolaohaksat has many thing feeling the differant ways.

Feb 25, 2016 01:18 PM

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